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Old 02-25-2007, 08:16 AM
Redfisher Redfisher is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Monomoy
Posts: 92

I'd be happy to share my thoughts with you on the advantages and disadvantages of flats boats. I've owned an 18' Hewes Redfisher for 10 seasons. The last 4 years the boat has been moored in Stage Harbor, Chatham Ma., and before that it was docked in Westport Connecticut. After I retired I worked weekends for a couple of years at the marina in Westport and sold Hewes/ Maverick /Pathfinder boats.

Flats boats have advantages and disadvantages. They are great for shallow water fishing but their shallow draft and low freeboard make them a poor choice for fishing in rough conditions. Having said that I once had a guide take me a mile outside of the Southway in his 18' Hewes Redfisher in 6' seas. The waves were breaking a mile offshore.Every boat is a compromise and flats boats are no exception.

If you still think a flats boat is what you want here are some issues to think about. Some pole better than others. Some handle rough water better than others. Some have less draft than others and some can carry more passengers than others.

The first thing you need to do is identify your requirements:

-Where will you use the boat? If you use the boat on the Cape you probably need a boat that can handle a 2 or 3 foot chop and not drown you with spray. I often fish the open beach and you need a boat that can handle the ride back if it starts to get rough. If you want to fish the rips you need a boat that can handle rougher water.

- How many passengers do you plan on carrying? The more passengers the bigger the boat you need. Since people tend to bring a lot of gear you need to make sure the boat has enough storage. I don't like anything left on deck because loose fly line will find it and it will always happen at some critical point.

-Will you do a lot of poling? If you plan on much poling a lighter, a smaller boat is desireable or you will get a really good ab workout . The lighter smaller boats also usually have shallower drafts. Trolling motors are an alternative to poling but I don't like them on the flats.

There are many other factors to consider such as range, trailering issues, etc. but I think the items listed above are a good start.

A boat like my 18' Redfisher is a good compromise for the Cape. I suggest you check out Maverick's user forum as they have very open discussions about the company's boats and also thier competitors boat's and there is much discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of flats boats. And no I don't sell boats any more and the dealer I worked for got out of the boating business a couple of years ago.

I'll be happy to answer any specific questions you may have. Just thinking about a new boat is lots of fun. Enjoy the process.

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